Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Windows Experience Index - New Windows Vista Feature

On November 8th, Windows Vista had been released to manufacturing. The general (retail) availability of Windows Vista is scheduled for January 30th. Windows Vista includes numerous new features, some of which are really interesting. One of the most useful new features is the Windows Experience Index (WEI for short); Its basically a number that can be used to compare the performance of two computer systems. For example, my personal computer has a base score of 2.6. The base score is the minimum of 5 other sub-scores (with few exceptions).

Here are details of my computer's sub-scores:
Gaming Graphics2.6
Hard Disk Speed5.2
Base Score2.6

These scores will increase the ease of upgrading computer's hardware in general. Taking my personal computer as an example, we can see that the "Gaming Graphics" category is the one diminishing my base score. This would give a direct hint that the most needed upgrade would be a better graphics card, as it is the part with the lowest sub-score indicated by the base score.

Hopefully, new hardware and software productions will take advantage of this benchmarking system. For example, newer graphics cards would provide WEI score for its graphics subsystem. So I might go to any hardware selling point, and check the WEI to have an idea how much better or worse that graphics card is compared to the one I already have, or maybe compared to another graphics card displayed on the shelve. Also, when buying a new computer, the WEI score would be the easiest way to determine how good or bad that computer is. Moreover, newer softwares might reduce complex minimum and recommended system requirements to a single WEI score. This would make it much easier to decide whether a certain game will work on my system simply by looking at its WEI rating, instead of detailed computer specifications (still details would be a good supporting consideration).

The WEI score works in a logarithmic manner. One unit of score is almost double the performance, so a computer with score 4.0 is roughly twice as good as one with score 3.0. As of this date, all vista-capable computers fall in the range of 1.0-5.9. 1.0 is the score of the minimum requirements for Windows Vista, while 3.0 is the recommended score for it. Topnotch computers have ratings of 5.0+. Scores of 6.0 and above are reserved for the computer specifications of the near future. Most analysts agree that computer's performance almost double every two years, so we can expect WEI maximum score to be updated almost every two years.

Read more about WEI here

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